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Matthew Pope’s Blood On Her Name ranks among Americana thrillers such as Blue Ruin, I Don’t Belong In This World Anymore, Small Crimes, and other tobacco-stained justice flicks. A modest look into how one decision can change your life forever; sins paid in flesh and blood. Characters all blend into a complicated existence between sympathy and wrongdoing, as Pope holds complication over easily definable boundaries between “good” and “evil.” In a time when online mob justice demands black-and-white rulings on human affairs, Blood On Her Name reminds us of the sprawling grey area that defines our experience. Tension strung tight enough to slice through a crowd like the opening scene in Ghost Ship.
Bethany Anne Lind stars as hard-luck Leigh Tiller, left by her lawbreaking husband to run their family mechanic shop alone. Son Ryan (Jared Ivers) lends help, a “juvenile delinquent” on parole after beating a bully blind. Already low on customers, Leigh’s life is shattered to pieces after a junkie threatens harm post-closing. In the act of self-defense, Leigh bashes the attacker with a wrench and kills him. She panics, stashes the body, and doesn’t notify badged authorities – headed by her gruff lawman father, Richard Tiller (Will Patton). Leigh’s troubles start with a corpse, but complications arise in the form of nosy locals. Angry, vengeful types.
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Blood On Her Name is never as gruesome as Blue Ruin, Jeremy Saulnier’s crosshairs comparison point. Violence punctuates drama instead of sets a bloodsoaked tone. Some might consider Pope’s backwoods caper a “mumblecore mystery” built on character designs over ****-kicking, meant with favorable connotation. We care for Leigh’s predicament, but then questions arise when Leigh’s situational allowances usher in blurry logic. A woman made to fend for herself, sacrificing for family, turned a “villain” in the flimsiest of circumstances. Pope’s rumination on survival...
(Excerpt) Read more at: /Film
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